Eight terrestrial places in which it is possible to visit Mars

In all corners of Earth, in its deepest depths, lavanavta, pustynenavta, peshcheronavta and aquanauts imitate accommodation in space. Having spent 80 days in the two-storeyed camera in the desert of the State of Utah within the last imitation of life on the Red planet, seven members of Mars Society left on December 13 the prototype of the interplanetary dwelling. But on it work it isn’t finished. Having left Utah, the same crew members from seven various countries will live in the Canadian Arctic, in the same dwelling, during the next 80 days.

For 15 field seasons more than one thousand “pustynenavt” worked on an analog of the Martian desert research station in Utah. For them the conditions imitating an environment of people who suddenly decided to live and work on the fourth stone from the Sun were created.

Crew members can’t leave the dwelling without space suits and face a 20-minute delay in communication with people outside. Water-supplies are limited, and fresh food doesn’t exist.

Within this experiment and others similar the emphasis is placed not so much on studying of how the human physiology adapts to severe extremes of the Martian environment — eventually, to reproduce the lowered gravity, the suffocating atmosphere and the toxic soil not so simply. Instead these dummy missions first of all try to find out how the person and his behavior in a desert privacy changes.

The mission takes place Mars-160 in two stages and shall help scientists to estimate, to properly conduct a research of other planet. Therefore members of “crew” are concentrated on carrying out microbiological, geological and paleontologic experiments since the end of September.

They also test new design of a space suit and system of vacuum cleaning of linen.

“The space base” is parked by Mars Society at the end of Cow Dung Road near Henksvill, the State of Utah, with the greenhouse in a geodetic dome, observatory and the two-storeyed habitat of 13 square meters the area.

If this set seems to you the acquaintance, it is possible because indeed. Worldwide there take place several other space missions, and scientists use these “towns” for studying of various aspects of reaction of people to accommodation at confidants to space conditions.


Quite recently the Martian crew finished the whole year of isolation at the Hawaiian university within the program for a research of a space analog and simulation on slopes of Mauna Loa, the largest volcano in Hawaii. Here crews from six members periodically occupy a two-storeyed geodetic dome on solar batteries and give to researchers of NASA the chance to observe how people react to life in isolation.

Lava fields of a volcano, a blanket covering the earth around the dwelling, offer crew chance to work in places which are very similar to Mars: rough and dangerous, with the lava tubes disappearing under sharp volcanic breeds.


Not all space programs pass on Earth. One of them, the research station NASA Aquarius, is the unique underwater research station on Earth.

The crews participating in the missions of NEEMO spend at least three weeks under water, to the dwelling at a depth of 20 meters under a water surface, near coral reeves of Key Largo. Four aquanauts at the same time can practice in life and work in the environment which obviously doesn’t intend for settling by people. For many years many astronauts who really left in space studied during 21 missions of NEEMO.

Sardinia, Italy

There is an indisputable fact about space travel. Sometimes happens darkly. On the Moon or on Mars, for example, many plans of missions suggest to live in caves or lava pipes which could protect astronauts from harmful space radiation. Having it in a type, the European Space Agency created simulation of stay in deep space in network of caves which are at a kilometer depth near Sardinia. This experiment is called CAVES, and we wrote about it recently.

There, in depths, the crew from six people researches the new world, using the strategy of movement on caves, slow and careful, with careful planning. Missions for a research of caves last less, than missions on a surface. The last mission of CAVES took place this summer within six days.

Devon Island, Canada

The Canadian high Arctic — cold, dim from time to time and relentless — became the house for several space modelirovaniye, and both of them settle down on Devon Island. The biggest desert island in the world — Devon — is in Baffin Bay and usually serves as the house for small herds of musk oxen.

From time to time, however, he also accepts on a visit artificial astronauts. The research station Mars Society F-MARS will become the house for team of Mars-160: in 2017 the neogenic group of six people will spend 80 days at the station twice.

NASA also uses an outpost on Devon which is located on the ridge overlooking a huge shock crater Hautton. High-altitude Hautton is considered the place, most similar to Mars, on Earth and represents the fruitless stony desert in which temperature seldom rises above a freezing point.

Moscow, Russia

It isn’t obligatory to go to exotic places at all to find space on Earth. The longest modeling of the Martian conditions took place in not remarkable object in Moscow, at Institute of medicobiological problems of RAS so far.

The experiment Mars-500 was made by the European Space Agency, Roskosmos and China and has been divided into three stages in which six crew members have been locked in imitation of the Martian dwelling for 520 days — so much, as expected, it will be required for a travel to Mars and back. Complete experiment turned on even the spacecraft model, imitation of a landing and creation of the dwelling on the Martian surface.


In similar style of NASA has developed Human Exploration Research Analog in the Space center of Johnson in Houston. This project helps scientists to understand better how people cope with a travel through emptiness of space in the closed boxes when from a window only a night, and very long is visible.

Here, using three-storyed model of the habitat, scientists try to answer the most difficult questions: what it — to live without light? What happens to brains when Earth — our native planet — any more isn’t visible? Whether circadian rhythms continue to work? This year, within the 30-day missions in HERA, team of four crew members checked operation of the equipment and food, and also practiced in extra ship activity on a virtual asteroid which can become the intermediate stage of a travel to Mars once.


On the southern end of Earth the remote research station helps the European Space Agency to investigate what could be life outside our planet. Concordia located on the high Antarctic plateau is inhabited all the year round, on it lives to sixteen people. Though the main attention is devoted to studying of climate, glaciology and magnetic field of Earth, life on base also imitates some of difficulties, connected with space travel.

Scientists trace such things as changes of blood pressure and work of a brain while scientists live on base. Also they study changes of sight and cycles of a dream at those who face with four months of the darkness characterizing the Antarctic winter. Also on Concordia look for ekstremofila or viruses, bacteria and fungi which prosper in cruel conditions for life.

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